* Today in Black History – May 28 *
1863 – The first African American regiment from the North leaves Boston
to fight in the Civil War.
1910 – Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker is born in Linden, Texas. He will
become a creator of the modern blues and a pioneer in the
development of the electric guitar sound that will shape
virtually all of popular music in the post-World War II period.
Equally important, Walker will be the quintessential blues
guitarist. He will influence virtually every major post-World
War II guitarist, including B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie
King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Eric Clapton, and Stevie
Ray Vaughan. He will join the ancestors on March 16, 1975.
1936 – Betty Sanders is born in Detroit, Michigan. She will become the
wife of El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Hajja Betty Bahiyah
Shabazz. After the assassination of Malcolm, she will show
herself to be a very strong individual in her own right. She will
face the difficulty of raising six children after witnessing
Malcom’s tragic death. In order to support herself and her
children, she will go back to school, earning three degrees
including a doctorate in education from the University of
Massachusetts. She will teach others and become an international
figure of dignity and discipline. She will work on Jesse Jackson’s
campaigns for the presidency, and will work in the African
liberation struggle to free Angola, Namibia and South Africa, and
to bring democracy to Haiti. She will join the ancestors on June
23, 1997 after succumbing to injuries received in a fire at her
New York home. At the time she will be the director of
Institutional Advancement and Public Relations at Medgar Evers
College in Brooklyn, New York.
1944 – Gladys Knight is born in Atlanta, Georgia. Making her first
public appearance at age four, she will win first place on Ted
Mack’s Original Amateur Hour at seven. A member of the “Gladys
Knight and the Pips” since the early 1950’s, Knight will remain
with the popular group for over 30 years before pursuing a
successful solo career.
1951 – Willie Mays gets his first major league hit, a home run.
1962 – A suit alleging de facto school segregation is filed in Rochester,
New York, by the NAACP.
1966 – Percy Sledge hits number one with his first — and what turned out
to be his biggest — hit. “When a Man Loves a Woman” would stay
at the top of the pop music charts for two weeks. It will be the
singer’s only hit to make the top ten and a million seller.
1974 – Cicely Tyson wins two Emmy awards for best actress in a special
and best actress in a drama for her portrayal of a strong
Southern matriarch in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”
1974 – Richard Pryor wins an Emmy for his writing contributions on the
Lily Tomlin special “Lily.”
1981 – Mary Lou Williams joins the ancestors in Durham, North Carolina at
the age of 71. A jazz pianist who played with Louis Armstrong,
Tommy Dorsey, Earl “Fatha” Hines, and Benny Goodman, she formed
her own band in 1943. Williams was known for her jazz masses
including one “Mary Lou’s Mass” that was choreographed by the
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1971.
1991 – Journalist Ethel L. Payne joins the ancestors in Washington, DC at
the age of 79.
2003 – Janet Collins, ballerina, joins the ancestors at age 86. She was
the first African American artist to perform at the Metropolitan
2014 – Legendary author and poetress, Maya Angelou joins the ancestors at
her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She leaves behind a
body of important artistic work that influenced several
generations. She will be praised by those who knew her as a good
person, a woman who pushed for justice and education and equality.
She will write staggeringly beautiful poetry. She will also write
a cookbook and be nominated for a Tony. She will deliver a poem at
a presidential inauguration. In 2010, President Barack Obama names
her a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s
highest civilian honor. She will be friends with Malcolm X and the
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and inspire young adults and world
celebrities. She will be best known for her book “I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings,” which will bear witness to the brutality of a
Jim Crow South.
Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.